The state fire marshal is responsible for ensuring that fire safety regulations are followed when constructing new buildings and when operating any publicly accessed business or institution. Although the exact regulations vary from state to state, the general guidelines can be broken down into four categories.
Fire protection refers to all things in place to manage a fire once it has already ignited. The fire marshal confirms that fire extinguishers are readily available and in working order. If the establishment has a sprinkler system or a hood fire suppression system, the marshal checks that it has been inspected regularly.
Violations of electrical codes can result in a fire. The fire marshal checks for exposed or uninsulated wires and extension cords attached to other extension cords. The marshal also verifies that the breakers in the breaker box are labeled appropriately so the source can be shut down quickly during a fire.
General Fire Safety
General fire safety includes storage of combustible material and general housekeeping. Many businesses use combustible products, and the marshal checks that these products are stored in a cabinet specifically labeled “hazardous material” and any hazardous waste is removed daily. The marshal also checks for an accumulation of grease, lint or dust that can cause a fire.
If a fire does ignite, the most import thing is to make sure employees and customers can quickly and safely exit the building. Therefore, every fire inspection includes an inspection of exits to make sure they are clearly marked with illuminated exit signs and to make sure the paths to those exits are free of debris.